Two top competitors—one a roper and one a cow horse competitor—have found that their friendship has improved their horsemanship.
With more than $500,000 in National Reined Cow Horse Association earnings, Lipan, Texas, cowgirl Erin Taormino is no stranger to working cattle. But roping steers is unfamiliar territory, and she admits it gives her some jitters. Lucky for Taormino, her pal Jackie Crawford is one of the most respected ropers in the history of the sport. She has a list of championships to her credit, most recently winning the inaugural National Finals of Breakaway, held in conjunction with the 2020 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Fort Worth, Texas. Crawford is well known for being one of the best roping teachers in the United States.
As with most successful competitors, Taormino has goals she’s working toward, such as entering the NRCHA’s World’s Greatest Horseman competition. The event is made up of the three standard NRCHA classes—herd work, reined work and cow work—plus steer stopping. What that means to Taormino is that she’ll need to get comfortable roping steers.
Crawford started Taormino out on the Smarty roping dummy, and then the two moved into their respective boxes with a steer in between them. Crawford was able to coach Taormino from the heel side, and it wasn’t long before she was headed left with a steer in tow.
We were able to tag along as Crawford loaned out her trusty mount, Leroy, for Taormino’s first day of spinning steers at the Crawford’s ranch in Stephenville, Texas. The sunny day was full of many laughs and successful loops. If Taormino takes on this sport with the same drive she does the cow horse, she’ll be sporting a World’s Greatest Horseman back number in no time.
Read more about Crawford and Taormino in the January 2021 issue of Western Horseman.